Answer Found in Solving Climate Change

A recent discovery is making waves across North America and around the world today as scientists, academics and children claim a solution to the climate change crisis.

I’m tiring quickly of my newsfeed being bombarded with bold claims and teasers that just beg the reader to click and read on. My favourite to mock are the ones that entail lists, and end with the tagline “I couldn’t believe No. 7” or some nonsense like that. So in the spirit of playing along and joining the masses of trying to “sell” this story, the title and tagline were my best attempt.

Climate change does have an answer though. And I think it’s a pretty simple one. For just over 10 years, I’ve had a best friend of sorts. She’s an 11 year old Siberian husky whose name is Koona. She has chased squirrels, raccoons and deer, has had standoffs with both bears and moose, and has on occasion bit friends as well as my parents. She has craved affection from countless strangers, cuddled on the couch with many friends and howls when I leave her for too long. Over 10 years, I have made a deep connection with this dog. She has been a constant in my life and it’s extremely difficult to think of my life without her in it. My relationship with Koona is a strong one.

For non-dog owners, this can be a tough sell. It was for me before I adopted Koona. Sure, I could have learned about dogs. There is much to learn about this species that ultimately derives from the wolf. I could have learned about her characteristics, her habits, her physiology, and perhaps even a bit of how her brain functions. In fact, you could teach me all there is to know about dogs, but there would still be something missing – a relationship. Learning about dogs doesn’t equal having a relationship with them. I have spent 10 years with Koona and the bond I feel with her is strong and powerful. That relationship has grown because of the time we’ve spent together.

Climate Change is really no different. We can learn all we want about the Earth’s warming and debate until we’re blue in the face why this is happening. But none
of this will ultimately help solve the climate change crisis. Having a relationship with the environment, with the great outdoors might though. And herein lies both the problem and the solution. In broad strokes, humans are collectively spending more time inside and less time outside. In large part, this is due to our growing relationship with technology – specifically devices. While our connection to screens is flourishing, our relationship with the outdoors is wilting. How can we care about climate change if we’re not spending time outside and building a relationship with it? If we could find better balance, developing that relationship to the great outdoors is pretty simple. It’s just a matter of spending time together. And it’s surprising how good of a friend the outdoors can become. Science is telling us loudly that the outdoors reduces stress, builds self-esteem, helps students in school, keeps us physically and mentally happy AND reduces crime. It’s a relationship that only requires one thing from us – spending time together. The more time we spend together, the stronger that bond will become. And the stronger that bond becomes, maybe – just maybe, we’ll start to care more about this planet we’re living on and start finding solutions for how to treat it better.

So the answer is in fact simple. Spend more time outside. Watch the relationship grow…

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